We started the day off with breakfast at Bjørn and Sissel’s house. The time got away on us, so we were a little late leaving for the airport to catch our 10:25 flight to Stokmarknes. No problem though, we made it in good time. It was a clear, sunny day for the 25 minute flight and the view from the Dash-8 was awesome.
The Stokmarknes airport is very small, so there isn’t a line of cabs waiting. We called a cab to take us to the hurtigruten ferry terminal, about a 10 minute drive. The ship didn’t leave until 3:15, so we had a 4-1/4 hour wait. Fortunately, there are luggage lockers in the terminal, so we stored our bags and headed down the street to the Rødbrygge Restaurant and Pub for lunch.
The ‘Midnatsol’ arrived right on schedule, the same ship I was on for the photography tour, in June. We boarded, checked in, moved the luggage to the storage room and took the elevator to the 9th deck. We seated ourselves directly in front of the front panoramic windows for a great view throughout the trip. We had blue skies and it was comfortably warm in the sun, when we were out on the deck. The ship took the detour into Trollfjord, with it’s narrow entrance and high granite mountain sides.
Before arriving in Svolvær, we had hot dogs on the deck, so that looked after dinner. When the ship docked in Svolvær for it’s 2 hour stop, Matt and I went for a walk around the town and through the market, on the dock.
You can set your clocks by the hurtigruten’s arrival and departure, so we arrived in Stamsund right on scheduled at 10:00 PM. We were met on the dock by a full contingent of Grønbech family and Hans Christian (HC) Jahren. What a great reception!
Our luggage was loaded into Bjorn-Arne’s van and the rest of us made the 5 minute walk to Skjærbrygga. The gangplank is a bit rickety, with a rope handle, but we got Randi down to the dock and into HC’s RIB (rubber inflatable boat) safe and sound. We waved goodbye to our family on the dock and motored off to Tørnholmen, the island on which we’ll be living for the next 11 nights. It’s a 5 minute boat ride!
In July 2012, HC (2nd cousin on my Dad’s side) bought the island, Tørnholmen, just off the Stamsund docks. It’s about 1.5 km end to end and is accessible only by boat. For the past 4 years, he has been hard at work restoring the buildings, including what will be his part-time island home. What a great job he and his team have done! Our ‘home’ is a large 2-storey building with 4 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms with rain head showers, a large kitchen and a large living room. They’ve just installed new kitchen cupboards, dish washer, etc. Even though there are no lights hooked up yet, no big deal…..we have 24 hour daylight and there are lots of windows!!
By the time HC is finished with the restoration over the next 2 years, there will be 24 beds in 3 different buildings. He’ll be promoting this as ‘Rent an Island’. You can rent islands in the Caribbean, but this will be the only one inside the Arctic Circle, and he will cater to corporate clients. However, we are the first ones to stay on the island. What an honour!!
We sat in the kitchen talking with HC until about 1:30 AM and then called it a day.